• Avebury Henge is one of the largest stone circles in Britain, with a diameter of 347 meters. It is a marvel of prehistoric Britain.
  • Avebury Henge is older than the Great Pyramid of Giza, dating back to around 2850 BC. It is almost 5,000 years old.
  • Unlike Stonehenge, Avebury Henge is free to visit and open all the time. There are no admission fees or closing times.

Avebury Henge is an interesting alternative to Stonehenge in the UK. It is a massive Neolithic henge located near Stonehenge and is co-listed with Stonehenge as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Avebury Henge is ancient - a similar age to Stonehenge (or perhaps even older). There are other impressive Neolithic sites near Stonehenge and the Avebury stones (and possibly somehow associated with them).

Other Neolithic sites include Silbury Hill and long barrows (the Belas Knap is one of the best preserved and restored long barrows to discover). Here are some interesting things to know about visiting Avebury Henge in England.

Related: From Castles To Roman Ruins: 10 UNESCO Sites To Explore In Britain

10 Avebury Henge Is One Of The Largest Stone Circles

Stonehenge from the air with barrows visible
 4kclips / Shutterstock
Stonehenge from the air with barrows visible

While Stonehenge is the most famous henge in England (by far), lesser-known Avebury Henge is one of the largest and most complex Neolithic henge monuments known to still survive in England.

It is the largest stone circle in Britain, originally having around 100 stones, and is regarded as one of the greatest marvels of prehistoric Britain.

  • Size: 347 meters or 380 Yards In Diameter

9 Avebury Henge Is Older Than The Great Pyramid Of Giza In Egypt

Details of stones in the Prehistoric Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire, England
Details of stones in the Prehistoric Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire, England

The Great Pyramid of Giza was built form circa 2570 BC. The earliest origins of Avebury Henge date from around 2850 BC - around three hundred years before the pyramid.

Avebury Henge dates from around 2850 BC to 2200 BC, making it almost 5,000 years old. Avebury was built over a long period of time, stretching through the Neolithic (Stone Age) and Bronze Age periods.

  • Age: 2850 to 2200 BC

Related: Stonehenge? Explore 10 Of The Best Neolithic Stone Circles & Other Ancient Sites

8 Avebury Henge Is Free To Visit

Part of the stone circle at Avebury Great Henge, a UNESCO world heritage site in Wiltshire, England
Part of the stone circle at Avebury Great Henge, a UNESCO world heritage site in Wiltshire, England

Perhaps one of the most interesting facts about Avebury Henge in England is that it is free to visit, despite being one of the best ancient sites in the UK.

Avebury Henge is located in the village of Avebury, and there are no admission fees - and there are no closing times, either. Two modern roads cut right through the ancient henge, and a few homes have been built inside of it. Stonehenge is actually one of the few Neolithic sites in the area that have an admission fee.

  • Admission Fee: None

7 Silbury Hill Is Part Of The Avebury Monument

Silbury Hill in England near Avebury at dawn
Silbury Hill in England near Avebury

Silbury Hill is the largest ancient artificial mound in Europe and is part of the Avebury monument complex. Silbury Hill is of a similar mass to contemporary pyramids, and it is also free to visit.

Remarkably, no one seems to know what Silbury Hill was built for - past investigations suggest that it wasn't used as an ancient burial site. If and how it is connected with Avebury Henge is not known.

  • Largest: Silbury Hill Is The Largest Ancient Artificial Mound

6 A Village Is Inside The Henge

Prehistoric Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire, England
Prehistoric Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire, England

Over the years, the small English village of Avebury has spread into the ancient henge.

A dozen or so of the village's buildings still stand within Avebury Henge - a reminder that the practice of protecting ancient monuments is largely a modern concept.

  • Buildings In Avebury Henge: Over A Dozen

Related: Why The Orkney Island's Are Europe's Best Peek Into The Neolithic

5 Avebury Has Multiple Stone Circles

Avebury Henge at sunset
Avebury Henge at sunset

Avebury has an outer stone circle measuring over a thousand feet across. Within the outer stone circle are two additional, separate stone circles.

The northern inner ring is over 300 feet or 98 meters in diameter. The southern inner ring is 350 feet or 108 meters in diameter (but it has been destroyed).

  • Number Of Stone Circles: Three Stone Circles

4 Avebury Henge Has A Local Museum

Avebury Neolithic henge monument in England
Avebury Neolithic henge monument in England

The Alexander Keiller Museum is located in the village and houses some of the most important prehistoric archeological collections in England.

Admission to the museum includes access to the Barn Galleries and the Stables. It is a great place to learn about the archeological site and bring it to life.

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Daily

3 Avebury Henge's Purpose Remains A Mystery

Reconstruction Illustration of a Neolithic settlement
Olga Pedan / Shutterstock
Reconstruction Illustration of Neolithic settlement

The Avebury Henge's original purpose remains a matter of debate. Archeologists have come up with plenty of suggestions for why it was built and for what it was used, but still, no one really seems to know for sure.

One common suggestion is that it was used as a meeting place for special events and festivals. Still, Avebury Henge remains one of the ancient monuments around the world whose purpose is a mystery.

  • Purpose: Perhaps Ceremonial

2 Avebury Henge Was Partly Demolished In The Middle Ages

Avebury stones under snow
Image by John Studd from Pixabay
Avebury stones under snow

During the Middle Ages, it seems people started to pull the stones down. Many of the stones were either buried or destroyed (later, building and agricultural works further degraded the site).

It is thought that the then-Christian English associated the ancient monument with pagan and devil worship.

  • Association: Avebury Henge Was Likely Associated with Devil and Pagan Worship

Related: Spain Has A Stonehenge & It's One Of Europe's Largest Neolithic Structures

1 Some Stones Have Been Re-Erected

Scenic view of Avebury Henge
Photo by Frans van Heerden on Pexels
Scenic view of Avebury Henge

In the late 1930s, a man named Alexander Keiller made efforts to protect and partially restore the ancient site. He bought the site and removed some of the buildings that had been built on the site.

He also re-erected many of the stones that had been toppled over the years.

  • Protection Efforts: Since The 1930s